Two weeks ago, I made a new discovery---ACTs. ARTIST TRADING CARDS are miniature works of art created on 2 ½ X 3 ½ inch or 64 X 89 mm card stock or similar sturdy papers. Produced by a single artist, ATCs are made in limited numbers, often no more than one of a kind. Unique ATCs are called originals; sets of identical ATCs are called editions and are numbered; sets of ATCs that are based on one theme but that are different are called series. They reflect a wide variety of techniques including paintings, drawings, collages, photographs, rubberstamp works, mixed media, found images, assemblages, and more.
Although art miniatures were popular as early as the 1600s— Zurich artist and organizer M. Vänçi Stirnemann initiated the concept of ATCs, the application of trading cards to the art world, in 1997.
Traditionally, an ATC mustn't be sold, only exchanged, as the whole essence of these tiny works of art is about artists meeting other artists and exchanging their works in person, by correspondence, or even online. Several yahoo groups exist to promote trading internationally. Artists upload pictures of their cards on photo-sharing sites such as Flickr and invite group members to view them and propose a trade. http://www.flickr.com/groups/artisttradingcards/ is one such group with over 2000 members.
That basic rule about trading and not selling cards was tweaked when some artists saw the Internet as an opportunity to make some money and began to create cards to sell, and ACEOs---or "Art Cards, Editions, and Originals" came into being. Many former ACT artists now sell their art miniatures on EBay, making art easily affordable to virtually anyone today.
So, where do I sit on all of this “new discovery? For now, I love creating these little bits of color and form on my computer. Through trial and error and a real desire to understand the program, I have finally learned some of the most basic techniques in Photoshop that have eluded me for years. SoulCollage cards and ATCs are a very different process for me. The first is driven by intention that is felt but not always clear until the last image is glued down. The latter evolves from an image and decisions made to enhance and show it off to the best advantage. My flickr photostream has been inserted to the right on this page. What do you think?